Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation examines the perceptions of the effects of community change by residents in a small town. Industries are more frequently locating in smaller communities. The research presented here explores how residents of a small town perceive the effects of selected types of change, including the introduction of a large industry, on their community and their personal lives. A set of methodologies is assessed with regards to its utility in this type of investigation. The role of group membership, social interaction, personal characteristics and the location of an enumeration area (a grouping of households) relative to an event are measured with regards to perceptions of change. A theoretical model of community change is tested in the context of a community undergoing change.;The results of a case study of Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, are presented in which the perceptions of the impacts of a new automobile assembly plant are studied, within the context of other types of community change. The complexity of measuring perceptions toward selected types of change is addressed through the use of a set of methodologies, including a questionnaire, document research and interviews.;The results of this research showed that there was a community-wide pattern of perceptions. There were no variations in terms of location relative to an event, or as interaction or local group membership. There were differences in perceptions based on personal characteristics, most notably, age and gender. The effects of the automobile plant on the community and on residents' lives were perceived to be less significant than other ongoing changes.;The community-wide perception pattern may be explained by the acceptance of change in general by residents, as part of the ongoing process of community change, which is believed to be necessary for the economic and social survival of the town. This may be partially due to the influence of the media and the existence of culturally derived expectations and aspirations.



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